One World Theatre- the recently formed theatre company in Kathmandu – is set to perform its inaugural production of Oleanna starting December 2. Composed by renowned US stage and film writer David Mamet, the play depicts the story of John, a college professor, and Carol, a student failing his course, and the unforeseen consequences of their private meetings in his office. The group chose to perform Oleanna, because the play fits well with its objective to present contemporary English dramas with social justice themes relevant to South- Asian societies.
Mamet's Oleanna, which offers a bold commentary on gender politics, sexual harassment and the problems plaguing the educational system, managed to create a stir in the US and opinions were hugely divided when it was first staged in the 1990s. While the story is based on western society, the play also has universal appeal because it explores topics such as the power dynamics in a teacher-student relationship, disconnect between education and daily life and failure of human communication. For Nepali audiences the play is particularly relevant as students in the country begin to question the educational system and demand drastic changes.
Director Merola, a senior Fulbright scholar, has been working at Gurukul since 2010 and has also taught the play to Nepali college students. Says Deborah: "I have taught the play twice at IACER and my students were very excited about who would play John and Carol. In the coming week we will perform the play at IACER and Tribhuvan University and I am looking forward to our interactive sessions with the faculty and students."
So far Deborah Merola has collaborated with artists from Argentina, Columbia, France and various cities in the USA. She is happy with the partnerships that has been forged so far and believes that such intercultural exchanges and the friendliness between artists around the world will boost the theater scene in Nepal.